23 July 5:20, Doha, Qatar, on my way to the airport, destination Madrid
The perfectly round and yellow sun completes the picture of the architecture of I.M.Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art and far away you can see the new area of the city (West Bay). In front of that, close by are the wooden boats floating gently in the mirror water. The sun is hidden between some drawn aspect white clouds at the top and bottom of the perfect circle of the sun. The light is mirrored in the water between the small boats anchored every now and then in the gulf. This is yet another day in the desert in which my view is of holiday, my destination is a holiday on the premises of what is called a …job.
25 July 2015, 3 PM, Madrid
I have arrived in Madrid. The biggest clouds I’ve ever seen, white and massive, grown from the water and ground, like a milky blue fog are in front of my eyes. It’s sunny and there are more than 30 degrees.
Freedom is in the air. And happiness. From the airport arrivals you can tell: people with huge smiles, colorful clothes, waiting with flower bouquets for their loved ones or with huge balloons, trolleys with elephant and tigers for kids.
The buildings are not tall – about 2 floors high.
There is something exotic and something familiar about Spain.
During landing my years blocked and I felt like collapsing. Then I said to myself: Don’t miss this, you’re in Madrid. Than I thought: Who cares?
I closed my eyes for 3 minutes, yawned twice and I’m new. I really love this reset mechanism of mice and strength I have (apparently true, after three days I went to the doctor and my ears and nose are a mess so I am not even allowed to fly). Maybe it’s called youth, maybe it’s passion or maybe this is the way I was sent on Earth, prepared for something that will come my way one day…
I feel so tired and for some kind of reason this makes me speak a perfect Spanish, that even I am amazed of. With the cashier at the metro station I speak so fast since I am upset because the machine takes only small money, I have 100 euros bill, the ticket is 2 euros and by card you can only pay minimum 5 euros. Gizas! Cashier is there to exist, you cannot buy tickets from them. At least they’re there for me to practice my Spanish.
The taxi driver compliments my Spanish. He seems like a nice man and drops me off where I asked, at Prado Museum. Like all destinations, first stop, the museum. Especially in Madrid where Prado is a must see, one of the museums around the world, like Louvre, MOMA, National Library, Hermitage that you have to see at least once in a lifetime.
In our ride we went past the Buen Retiro (Pleasant Retreat) Park – where the Monument of Alfonso XII , Crystal Palace and other sculptures and walks are, Alcala Gate in the Independence Square, The Fountain of Cibeles – the symbol of Madrid, Paseo del Prado – from the fountain to the museum, Neptune Square – right next to the museum, the Ritz and finally arrived at The Museum.
I was so lucky to catch a temporary exhibition – 10 Picassos from the Kunstmuseum Basel (https://www.museodelprado.es/en/exhibitions/exhibitions/at-the-museum/diez-picassos-del-kunstmuseum-de-basilea/exposicion/). If you are in Madrid until the 14th of September, don’t miss it. The Picassos are really the best of the work of the famous painter and they are displayed between Goyas and Velasquez, the painters that inspired the cubist painter, in the museum where Picasso was director for some years. The Picassos you can admire here during the exhibition are: The Two Brothers, Man, Woman and Child, Bread and Fruit Dish on a Table, The Aficionado, Woman with a Guitar, Seated Harlequin or The Painter Jacinto Salvadó, Woman with Hat Seated in an Armchair, Young Ladies on the Banks of the Seine, after Courbet, Venus and Cupid, The Couple. Selfie stick was kept at the entrance of the museum and kindly returned at exit.
Two other paintings that I really liked were El Bosco – El Jardin de las Delicias
and El Bosco – 7 Pecatos Capitales.
This represent exactly what my interests are now, my path in life and what I want to burn from the past and where I want to be, what I want to become.
That day, with all the bubbles in my head, I looked pretty, maybe to pretty to go to museums, because people were literally staring at me and following me through the museum. Yes, pretty girls go to museums and think and – at least this one – knows quite a lot about art history and does not miss any museum visit in the cities where she travels.
In the café of the museum I wait in line looking at the cookies.
This guy next to me with a white apron, tall and skinny is singing. I catch the words and remember them (fruta prohibida tan indiferente tan fria). He moves on my right keeps working and singing about this cold woman. Then a lady from the other side of the counter starts singing along. This is what I feel Spain is about. Then I remember my Spanish prince charming. Well…not that young, let’s call him king. It is exactly like he described. Well, the song became one of my favorites and it is this one:
I left the museum to meet my friend from Madrid at the Banco de Espana
With Rocio we went to Santa Ana Square and had some nice catching up for hours while sipping sangria – of course – right after stopping to buy – of course – books. From Madrid I bought just a magnet and books. What I suffer most of here in Doha is not the 35+ heat or …many others, but my books, my huge library spread in two cities, but now since I got an idea of how long I will stay here, I will start building it back in my apartment in the desert. I chose “Fire” the last part of Anais Nin’s trilogy and Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe” in Spanish, of course.
Next visit’s wish list includes the Thyssen Museum, which is more on my type of museum, but really, I could not miss the Prado. Then, I want to walk and walk and walk because the city is amazing and its vibe marvelous.